I cannot stress enough to my clients how important it is to
disclose everything they can to an
admissions committee. Why? Because sometimes, what you don't say may
actually be the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection.
One client in particular let's call him Jon was in such a position. His SAT
scores sat in the low 400s, but he had outstanding grades. At a glance, there
seemed to be a huge disconnect there, but no other information was present on
the application to suggest what that was.
Jon came to me after a family friend had used AdmissionsConsultants and was
pleased with the assistance he had gotten. Unfortunately, Jon had already
applied to several schools and was on the waitlist with the one university he
really wanted to attend a top ten liberal arts college (as ranked by US News
and World Report). Determined to get off the list and into the program, he was
connected to me.
After looking over his original application and noting such severe disparity
between his scores and grades, I asked several probing questions. Finally, after
much discourse, I was told that Jon had a learning disability and that his
school counselors had advised him to not disclose that information in his
A big mistake.
See, admission committees need to have as much information about you as possible
in order to determine if you're right for the school or not. If you neglect to
give them the info, even if it seems detrimental to you, you stand to blow your
chances on getting that acceptance letter. That's what happened to Jon he was
good enough for the waitlist, but not outstanding enough to get through the
We set out to write the university an update letter, targeted specifically to
the school. Jon really wanted a degree from there he knew what classes he
needed to take, who were the right professors to see and mentor with, and even
knew how that degree impacted the career path he ultimately wanted to follow. We
incorporated all of that into the letter, and also explained how his learning
disability affected his test scores. Combined with his strong academic record
and extracurricular activities, he was able to show in his update letter just
how great a person he was, despite the handicap of his disability.
As we worked on the update, I kept Jon and his parents focused on the fact that
he had been accepted to other schools as well. Though they weren't his first
choice, it was something to be proud about. By keeping his mindset upbeat, it
made the process a lot easier for Jon.
We got our response soon after and found that the admissions committee had taken
Jon off the waitlist and was prepared to accept him as a student for the next
If Jon hadn't taken the step to disclose his disability information, he most
certainly would not be attending the school of his dreams.
- Contributed by Senior Consultant Nadine C. Warner. Nadine served for three
years as Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago.